The Origins of Wonder
The paper novelty of creating a “tree” from a rolled cylinder of newspaper or colored paper seems to have appeared c. 1904. The earliest description found to date appears as “Novel Paper Cutting or Tearing Feat” in The Magician, Vol. 1 No. 1, Dec. 1904, p. 5. Presumably, this article was written by the editor, Will Goldston. The explanation is introduced with a mention that “The novelty I am about to describe is manipulated very cleverly by J. F. Burrows.” This is not phrased to claim origination for Burrows, but indicates that the item was in at least one performing repertoire by 1904 or earlier.